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SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY FEBRUARY 26, 2014 ¬ STUDENT LED, NEIGHBORHOOD READ ¬ SINCE 2003 ¬ SOUTHSIDEWEEKLY.COM ¬ FREE

Making a Scene Bridgeport Film Club gets outside the box

MARQUIS HILL, AMNESIA, SLURP’S UP, CHICAGO PD, RIO, TWIN PEAKS, TASTE OF CHERRY

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MORE INSIDE


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IN CHICAGO A week’s worth of developing stories, odd events, and signs of the times, culled from the desks, inboxes, and wandering eyes of the editors

SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY The South Side Weekly is a newsprint magazine based out of the University of Chicago, for and about the South Side. The Weekly is distributed across the South Side each Wednesday of the academic year. In fall 2013, the Weekly reformed itself as an independent, student-directed organization. Previously, the paper was known as the Chicago Weekly. Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor

Harrison Smith Bea Malsky

Senior Editors John Gamino, Spencer Mcavoy Politics Editors Josh Kovensky, Osita Nwanevu Stage & Screen Hannah Nyhart Editor Music Editor Zach Goldhammer Visual Arts Editor Katryce Lassle Education Editor Bess Cohen Online Editor Sharon Lurye Contributing Editors Jake Bittle, Meaghan Murphy Photo Editor Camden Bauchner Layout Editor Olivia Dorow Hovland Assistant Layout Editor Zelda Mayer Copyeditor Emma Collins Senior Writers Ari Feldman, Emily Holland, Patrick Leow, Stephen Urchick Staff Writers Dove Barbanel, Christian Belanger, Jon Brozdowski, Emma Collins, Isabel Ochoa Gold, Lauren Gurley, Jack Nuelle, Paige Pendarvis, Rob Snyder Senior Photographer Luke White Staff Photographers Juliet Eldred, Stephanie Koch, Siddhesh Mukerji Staff Illustrators Isabel Ochoa Gold, Hanna Petroski, Maggie Sivit Editorial Intern

Zavier Celimene

Business Manager

Harry Backlund

5706 S. University Ave. Reynolds Club 018 Chicago, IL 60637

Breaking the Ice Mayor Emanuel promised Chicago’s students that he would participate in the 14th Annual Polar Plunge into Lake Michigan if they collectively read two million books last summer. Chicago’s determined young’uns read past that benchmark and this weekend, Mayor Emanuel himself, and not just his approval ratings, will take the plunge. Emanuel’s plus-one to this event will be “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, who, after a contentious Twitter exchange with the mayor, acquiesced to joining him. Emanuel sealed the deal by tweeting a pic of a wet suit for Fallon to wear in the expected eighteen-degree weather. Fallon apparently responded with a selfie via Snapchat with the caption “SOOO EXCITED!” Old Chapo He may be under Mexican custody, but storied narcotics kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán will remain Chicago’s Public Enemy No. 1. For a man who has reportedly never set foot in Chicago, “El Chapo” sure has the attention of Chicago authorities. The Sinaloa cartel (under Guzmán’s thumb) controls an estimated eighty percent of illegal drugs on the Chicago market and uses the city as a major hub of transportation. But even with the news of his recent capture at his beachfront condo in Mazaltán, Sinaloa, the Chicago Crime Commission says they won’t revoke “El Chapo’s” title just yet. Not until he’s convicted in a U.S court, at least. Merry, They Marry Love is in the air at the downtown Bureau of Vital Records. Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled that same sex couples in Cook County can begin to marry immediately, instead of waiting until June, when all of Illinois’ same sex couples will be afforded the same privilege. Coleman issued the ruling on Friday morning. By noon, Boystown had

chicago pd

“ ‘Chicago PD’ markets itself as ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’ suggesting ties to the reality of the Chicago Police Department.”

eric thurm................4

Send tips, comments, or questions to: editor@southsideweekly.com

slurp’s up

Cover photo courtesy of Conner Keeffe.

Inequality for All Kevin Murphy, UofC professor, award-winning economist, and co-author of a 2007 paper titled, “The Upside of Income Inequality” has been moonlighting in warmer climes as an expert witness. Silicon Valley rag Pando published a snappy indictment of Murphy, whom tech giants used this past year to argue against claims of everything from wage suppression to anti-trust violations. The article concludes that Murphy’s testimony was repeatedly ineffective, as a recent ruling found that the “evidence” belied his model. In returning from the witness stand to the lectern, Murphy is likely to find a less—shall we say—judgmental audience. One Stop from Sochi There might have been thrills, spills, and chills aplenty in Sochi, but for the half a handful of Team USA Olympians returning home through connecting flights from O’Hare on Monday, the Winter Games were far from over. CBS 2’s intrepid news team was on hand as a dozen athletes recounted the events of the 22nd Winter Olympiad in riveting detail (“…we worked really hard”) and fought to come out on top in a series of Post-Olympic events: The Shoe Shuck Shuffle through security, the Subway-Starbucks Cross-Terminal Slalom, and the Mixed Relay Departure Gate Decathalon. Though temps in Sochi averaged a positively frosty sixty degrees Fahrenheit during the games, Chicago managed to best the host city with a genuinely wintry high of twenty-five on Monday. As a result, Team USA skipped out early on the closing ceremony at Nuts on Clark, though not before munching down a dozen five-piece orders of jumbo onion rings down at Johnny Rockets. ¬

IN THIS ISSUE

SouthSideWeekly.com

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erupted in cheers, Rahm donned a smirk of approval. Another civil right had hit Chicago’s streets, and by the afternoon, couples were already tying the knot.

“I’ve struggled a lot with escaping male voices in music— literally and figuratively.”

rachel schastok.....10

bridgeport film club

taste of cherry

rio

“No special effects or choreographed action.”

“We feel their anxiety because we don’t understand Mr. Badii; there is nothing concrete shared between us.”

“Then he unsheathes a bowie knife in the first row’s face.”

amnesia

marquis hill

twin peaks

“There is something other than our experiences that we are.”

“If you can please a South Side audience, then you’re doing all right.”

“Clairvoyant detectives, agoraphobic orchid growers, hawaiian shirted shrinks and log-cradling ladies.”

julian nebreda........6

stephen urchick.......9

emily lipstein...........8

lucia ahrensdorf...11

noah kahrs..............12

zach goldhammer..14


courtesy matt dinerstein/nbc

Viewer Discretion Advised

“Chicago PD,” a new series from NBC, struggles with the South Side BY ERIC THURM

C

hicago is in the midst of a television renaissance—in just the past few years, series like “The League,” “Boss,” and “Happy Endings” have called the city home. But the biggest new televisual presence in Chicago comes from the new franchise of Dick Wolf, the creator of “Law & Order.” Wolf ’s “Chicago Fire,” now in its second season, is a show focused on a fire station in Little Italy, and a bright spot for an 4 SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY

otherwise struggling NBC lineup. “Chicago Fire” films and is set on the South Side. However, its new spin-off “Chicago PD,” a solid police procedural squarely in the style of Wolf, has far more reason to be concerned with representing the South Side, given its focus on the Chicago Police Department. There’s a long history of TV shows set in Chicago—“ER” and “Chicago Hope” among them. But most of those shows are filmed in Los Angeles and merely pay lip service to their Chicago settings with es-

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tablishing shots of the “L.” Even the ones that do film in Chicago generally avoid depicting the South Side in favor of the more upscale neighborhoods inhabited by the sorts of characters people tend to make television shows about. Visually speaking, “Chicago PD” is a great and uncharacteristic (for network television) depiction of the South Side. Several aesthetic and logistical factors made it a natural place to do much of the series’ filming. Production designer Greg Van Horn says, “What I like about the

South Side is that there’s a lot of diversity.” Shooting locations are immediately recognizable to residents as distinctively Bridgeport, Pilsen, or Washington Park. The production team has highlighted various South Side locations, from a bakery in Pilsen that serves as the family business of a major character to a Kenwood house on 46th and Ellis that Van Horn described as “grandmotherly,” and which houses a ring of cell phone thieves. The producers claim that filming has been good for local businesses. Location


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courtesy paul drinkwater/nbc

manager Patrick Muldoon says, “Businesses are receptive to us coming in and filming, both to have their name on TV, and for the experience.” In particular, the production team cited Ciao Amore, an Italian restaurant in Pilsen, which has reportedly seen an uptick in business since they were featured on the show. Ciao Amore manager Gus Drugas confirms that “we have had some customers who have seen us on the show.” He also says that the production has supported other local businesses. “It’s been good for the community. It helps the local economy because people want to see the locations, so they come out and shop, people come and eat.” The show’s protagonist, “shady” cop Hank Voight (Jason Beghe), has almost total control over his officers, who work a staggering variety of cases, from kidnappings to counterfeiting. Voight has a working relationship with a “gang” of middle-aged men in leather jackets who hang out under the “L” tracks on a thrown-out sofa. His officers have already engaged in police brutality, beating a suspect until he gives up a name. An early subplot involves Voight tak-

ing an interest in a kid who finds himself part of a gang, trying to “get him out” of his neighborhood. Often, stories about bigger problems with institutions can be best told through specific individuals, but “Chicago PD’s” treatment of the same subject confines its gaze to Voight, sacrificing the child as a real character so the hero comes off better. The series’ lack of engagement with the complex problems plaguing the Chicago Police Department and its relationship with South Side residents is by design. Executive Producer Danielle Gelber, also an executive vice president of Wolf Films, said, “We’re assiduously trying not to mirror what’s going on in true life Chicago. We don’t feel—and this comes from Dick Wolf on down—we don’t feel like we should make pronouncements on how the real CPD operates and what they’re up against.” Even in its visual depiction of Chicago, the “Chicago PD” team is committed to creating a version of the city that works best on TV. Van Horn said, “In my head there’s sort of a map of Chicago, and if you think of it as almost like Disneyland, a very

condensed map so that the neighborhoods bleed into each other—because, say, the 21st District would be a very small part of Chicago.” It wouldn’t make much sense for a network television show to meticulously document locations in particular neighborhoods of Chicago, but those shortcuts are also indicative of the type of Chicago that “Chicago PD” creates. The comparison to an amusement park is apt—“Chicago PD’s” Chicago feels like a ride, presenting only the fun parts of the city with slight distortions. It might be difficult to give a full accounting of the city, but where “Chicago PD’s” visual compressing is forgivable, its treatment of the Chicago Police Department deserves a second look. It might be unreasonable to expect a Dick Wolf show to seriously grapple with these issues—after all, “Law & Order” and its brethren take place in an almost fantasy-like world where the police are good people who do the right thing (and if not, it’s because they care too much about their work). The cops on “SVU” or “Criminal Intent” almost always catch the bad guy without dealing with racial profiling, ram-

pant institutional gang violence, or unfair drug laws. And how could they? These series air on major broadcast networks, which means they can’t plumb the same depths as, say, FX’s cop anti-hero masterpiece “The Shield.” And, as Gelber noted, the “Chicago PD” team is “really focusing in on who our characters are as people more than we’re trying to rip anything from the headlines.” But those characters can’t do things that are too terrible, because millions of people would (at least theoretically) stop watching. Network television shows do tend to take place in a sort of aspirational world, but “Chicago PD” markets itself as “dark” and “gritty,” suggesting at least some ties to the reality of the Chicago Police Department. For the “Chicago PD” team, that doesn’t entail any discussion of political issues. “Everything we do is grounded in authenticity, but we don’t want to be making a statement about Chicago violence and how it’s dealt with by the police department,” Gelber said. “Chicago PD’s” writers and producers may not want to connect themselves to the realities of the South Side, but such self-consciously “mature” storytelling combined with the show’s skill at capturing the visual and architectural diversity of the city make it very easy for viewers to get the wrong impression. And the in-universe reasons for the unit’s ethically suspect police work are eerily similar to the real justifications for police brutality and misconduct. Said Gelber of Voight’s shady tactics, “It all goes toward the goal of protecting the city.” This fits in with “Chicago PD’s” marketing campaign, which finds Voight, glaring, next to the words, “Don’t **** with my city.” One wonders: whose city, exactly? ¬

FEBRUARY 26, 2014 ¬ SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY 5


Making a Scene

courtesy conner keeffe

Director Eugene Park, cinematographer Tracy Pitts, and lead actor Wanda Jin in production for “Self-Deportation: The Untold Tale of a Marginal Woman.”

Bridgeport Film Club gets outside the box

“S

BY JULIAN NEBREDA

cripts which open with a character waking up will be rejected,” instructs the call for script submissions on the website of the Bridgeport Film Club. Among the other guidelines: “No special effects or choreographed action.” “Most of them are practical,” says Lance Eliot Adams, the club’s founder and current head. In a good script for a short film, he explains, “you’re in the story and the audience catches up to what’s happening [by page one]. If you take a lot of time 6 SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY

to set up, it’s cash. To film somebody sleeping costs money.” Adams started the Bridgeport Film Club in 2012, seeking to unite independent Chicago filmmakers in a collective that could freely collaborate, without the same economic ties and dependence of a production company. The group organizes collective shoots, free script readings, critiques, and work-exchange programs, where filmmakers can volunteer their work in exchange for help in return. Membership is not exclusive; anyone

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who participates in a few script readings or uses the work-exchange program can be asked to join. At the moment, there are four or five members who meet regularly, as well as a number of volunteers and participants in the club’s different programs. These programs are decidedly not designed to make a living for their members. “This project won’t pay your bills,” a page on the club’s website for casting reads. “It could lead to more film work and build your reel. You’ll have fun.”

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dams and Eugene Park, a fellow filmmaker and collaborator, have been working on a film called “Self-Deportation” for over a year. It is the club’s longest short film yet. Park, who has his own production company, Full Spectrum Features, first met Adams at a 2012 meeting of Chicago Filmmakers, a citywide filmmaking organization. Park told Adams about one of his concepts and showed him a “look book” (a few images that showed where Park wanted the film to go). The pair arranged a collaboration: Ad-


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ams would produce and Park would direct. The project eventually became “Self-Deportation: The Untold Tale of a Marginal Woman.” “Self-Deportation” is a short film that balances surreal and allegorical elements with a socially- and politically-conscious tone. The film starts on the CTA, where an Asian-American businesswoman is confronted by other passengers, racially targeted, and told to “go back to your country.” In response, she builds a shipping crate and resolves to mail herself “home.” The film then presents the different representations of “real Americans” she comes across in her travels. She moves between these archetypal cutouts of traditional characters— firefighters, cheerleaders, politicians, and quarterbacks—on her way to a home that turns out to be New Jersey. In part, the film comes from Park’s own encounters with racism; he’s an Asian American, and is originally from New Jersey. But “Self-Deportation” is a film that seeks to communicate a broader message as well; the different characters encountered in the film are essentially unattainable stereotypes, with common and popular identities that anyone would have trouble calling their own.

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dams and Park are also concerned with marginalization of another kind. The evolution of video technology has created a sort of existential moment for traditional, commodified cinematic consumption. With the advent of online entertainment sites that can provide thousands of movies instantly and conveniently, the silver screen has lost much of its importance. Video technology has also made it easier for independent filmmakers, like those in the Bridgeport Film Club, to make and distribute projects in cheaper ways (the website identifies the club as part of a movement toward the “democratization of film”). Both Adams and Park are concerned with revitalizing now-limited traditional cinematic presentation. “People are less willing to travel to just sit in a dark room and look at a screen,” Park says. “There has to be an event.” As a cinematic project, “Self-Deportation” shows how creative filmmakers are able to tackle and make the best of the challenges and opportunities that current technology presents. One of the film’s screenings will be at the Midwest Buddhist Temple, on September 27, where it will be

paired with a live soundtrack. Adams and Park also hired Chicago-based artist Brittney Leeanne Williams as set designer for pre-production and filming in an effort to make the workspace as much of an art installation and performance space as it was a set. “Most set designers are just interior designers,” Park explains. “You give them money and they go into Crate and Barrel and buy things that look nice.” Williams didn’t do that. Her work, creating the space for conveying the different American personas of the film, is equal parts surreal and eye-catching. A dark living room set, littered with onions stuck to the walls and coming out of the furniture, provides the backdrop for the traditional family scene, and a construction of directionless and obtrusive ladders, reminiscent of M.C. Escher, is the space for the fireman scene. The sets are almost characters in themselves. When shooting was finished, an exhibition was held in Ukrainian Village with reconstructions of the film set. Crowds were invited to walk around the work and meet the film’s characters in a performance piece that invited audiences into the film mid-production. “Self-Deportation” is scheduled to premiere at Chicago Filmmakers on September 6, with additional viewings at 32 Forty, an art space in Bridgeport, as well as at The John Marshall Law School and the Midwest Buddhist Temple. Adams and Park are still looking for an editor to help them finish the project, and for other cinemas and festivals where the film can be shown. The reception of “Self-Deportation: The Untold Tale of a Marginal Woman” might be enough to push the Bridgeport Film Club forward as a model for independent and cooperative endeavors for filmmakers—one that focuses, first and foremost, on collaborating to make more and better art. The club is also currently working on a series of films called “Harold in the Zone,” focusing on a man who tends “to drive away the ladies.” Though they still don’t want to see a film that opens with a character waking up, Adams and Park are open to almost anything. Adams explained that there is really only one thing he and the club look for in developing a script: “We just want stuff that’s good.” Turning to Adams, Park nods. “Yeah, that’s the best way to put it.” ¬ FEBRUARY 26, 2014 ¬ SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY 7


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Death by Disconnect Kiarostami’s “Taste of Cherry” keeps viewers at arms length BY EMILY LIPSTEIN

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s it ever okay to not feel sympathy for a suicidal person? This is one of the main questions explored by Abbas Kiarostami’s 1997 film, “Taste of Cherry.” Shown February 17 at the Logan Center for the Arts, the film was the finale of the “Death by Cinema” series, organized by UofC visual arts professor Karthik Pandian. “Taste of Cherry” follows what might have been the final days of a man named Mr. Badii (Homayoun Ershadi) as he drives around Tehran looking for someone to bury him. The grave is pre-dug—all he has to do is find this person and kill himself. Beyond this, we know nothing about Mr. Badii; not his first name, nor why he wants to kill himself. Mr. Badii scares off 8 SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY

all potential candidates for the job except for a taxidermist who fails to convince him not to go through with his plan. Mr. Badii ends up in his grave at the end of the movie, preparing to die. At the screening, the audience barely filled the first three rows of the theater. This intimacy contrasted with the film’s long shots of the Tehrani landscape, which seem to be endless and empty in its halfbuilt (or half-deconstructed) state. The faculty panel that followed touched upon the distance and the impersonality of Mr. Badii. Pandian revealed that the scenes in which Mr. Badii and his passengers converse in his car were shot one-half at a time, so Ershadi never filmed scenes with other

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actors; Kiarostami sat in the car with him and read the passengers’ lines. The disconnect created by this technique could be felt in the theater. “The viewer identifies with the passenger,” an audience member commented. “We feel their anxiety because we don’t understand Mr. Badii; there is nothing concrete shared between us.” Maybe we would have felt more involved in Mr. Badii’s fate if he had been a character we could connect with. But even as he lay in his grave at the end of the film, nobody in the audience seemed invested. As he lay there, the night enveloped him. But this was not the end of the movie. A new scene unfolded: a glimpse behindthe-scenes, grainier and more pixelated

than the rest of the film. Everything was green and alive, with actors and film crew interacting and joking around. And there stood Ershadi on set, speaking to others; by seeing “Mr. Badii” engaging with them, we could finally empathize with him. The audience members were awoken from the trance of the winding mountain roads. They looked around at others in the cinema, overcoming the jarring difference of this scene, finally eliminating the distance between the audience—the film’s passengers—and Mr. Badii; finally seeing something within him they could connect to. ¬


STAGE

Drifting on the Rio Grande Dream Theatre’s original murder–thriller, “RIO” BY STEPHEN URCHICK

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xcuse me, my name is Mary Graves, and I’m a victim of spousal abuse.” So begins Dream Theatre’s “RIO,” a play written by Dream’s own Jeremy Menekseoglu and set in the rundown, sun-swept, nineties-ish border town of Hope, Texas. Graves’s opening appeal frames the play with the town’s bruised squalor and the quiet, nervous violence endemic to this murder-thriller’s plot. Graves stares into the audience, asking for a dollar, a quarter, anything. She confronts the fourth wall as a one-way mirror, locking eyes with individual audience members, calling them out personally (“Mister—!”) for pretending not to see her. The outside world to which she appeals remains quiet to the football-sized wound she shows on her thigh. She growls with barely contained menace. “Ya’ll are nothing, anyways.” Despite her dismissiveness, audience addressals resurface throughout “RIO,” most frequently leveraged by Willy, the play’s nominal antagonist. Willy remains stage right for Graves’s opening sequence, swilling beer, shadows ringing his eyes. Initially he stands in for her distant, abandoned husband; but a lighting change properly introduces him sullenly camping out in an interminable migrant job line. He steps forward, offering Graves a place to stay, forcing out his domineering partner and would-be fiancée, Beth. The tension between his suggested deadly character and his professed goodwill creates a persistent uneasiness that powers the plot. Accordingly, when he imagines the audience as the job line and singles out a viewer as the indiscriminate “Paco,” the resultant laughter comes with more difficultly. He overacts his heavy gaze—the two-fingered, V-shaped “I’m watching you” gesture—into comic hostility. But his danger is unshakable; Willy is more than the grown playground bully he appears. By day, he respects Graves’s misfortune and uncertainty and befriends her. By night, he steps toward the audience drunkenly, cornering the earlier scene’s Paco on his

way home. As he closes in on the banister dividing stage from seats, absurdly telling the audience member how he wants to chat about his most recent dream, we smile. When he starts talking about Inquisitors in red—men being anally impaled, sawn through the shoulder—we sober up. Then he unsheathes a bowie knife in the faces of those in the first row. A Federale comes on stage to announce Paco’s death. Officer Posada tells us that his murder belongs to a rash of grisly killings: illegal Mexican immigrants have been floating back across the Rio Grande, disemboweled and dismembered. Posada presents his evidence to audience members as fellow marshals. Unable to gain U.S. cooperation and Mexico City’s authorization, he sets across the border alone. Accompanied by heroic trumpets and guitars, tricked out with a tactical revolver and stylish hat, he is a lone warrior against chaotic evil. Just as the audience has been forced into so many widely ranging roles (insensitive wayfarer, mute Paco, disinterested law enforcement) the characters themselves prove no more stable. The honorable Federale’s investigation increasingly relies on gunpoint interrogation and extrajudicial arrests, detaining both Mary and Beth. When he calls in and is summarily discharged for prosecuting his lead too vigorously, he freaks out. He has subsumed his life into a flimsy title. When Posada briefly seizes Willy, he brainstorms a torture sequence not unlike his captive’s dream. And when his remaining shot at glory escapes with Willy—crazily set on finding the illegally sequestered Graves—he nearly blows his brains out, alone encouraged to continue the hunt by fawning praise from Beth. He greets us championing the inalienable rights of his Mexican countrymen. He ends the play having surrendered his recaptured prisoner to American authorities, and his citizenship to an American naturalization track. Willy is as hard to pin down as he is to stop. It’s voyeuristically satisfying havcontinued on page

courtesy of dream theatre

Nicole Roberts as Mary Graves in Jeremy Menekseoghu’s “RIO.”

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FEBRUARY 26, 2014 ¬ SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY 9


Getting Vocal ing been in on the irony, having known all the time that this unbelievably nice guy was truly blood-hungry. But that sense vanishes when he enters alongside Mary, dancing with embarrassing abandon to high-tempo Mexican pop. How do you square innocent “I ate the Worm” T-shirts with a severed thumb in an evidence bag? Responsibly turning down Graves’s heartfelt appeal to make love doesn’t align with a violent, sadistic soul. Learning that Willy suffers from dissociative identity disorder makes situating culpability—sympathy—even

and wandering (“I just wanted to get out of the rain!”), she winds up handcuffed to a telephone pole by Officer Posada after informing against Willy. Exposed to the elements, she recalls her husband’s memory, ceases doubting herself, resolves to refuse from now on to beg anybody for love. Her composure and constancy disarms Willy once he finds her. She willfully opens up a quieted heart to him, still offering him a piece of it and her confidence. Her affection subdues Willy’s lethal half. Willy imagines that he’s drifting down

Yet, just as the audience has been forced into so many widely ranging roles (insensitive wayfarer, mute Paco, disinterested law enforcement) the characters themselves prove no more stable. harder. The play’s karaoke motif reduces identity down to performance, further shallowing out personality. Willy, Mary, Beth, and Posada each visit Hope’s bar, play-acting as musicians and pretending love. “RIO’s” most extreme persona shift occurs when Willy sings a sappy swan song to the bar’s crowd. He reaches forward, crooning, caressing audience members’ hands. Turning away and walking upstage as the outro finishes, he draws his familiar bowie knife. Only this time, he rushes the audience at knifepoint, nearly vaulting over the dividing bannister at the scene’s lights-out, hoarsely vowing to stab everybody. “RIO” is preoccupied with inconstancy and uncertainty, duplicity and self-assuredness. Even the play’s tonalities are in flux, reading like a sweeter, sillier Cormac McCarthy. In the end, Mary Graves finally provides a counterpoint. Initially adrift 10 SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY

the Rio, towards the Gulf, as he is administered the death penalty. Graves’s steadying memory keeps him from capsizing, keeps him floating smoothly and quells his urge to snap at his executioners. The solidity she represents remains foremost in his fading consciousness. “RIO” concludes in death and darkness: Graves remains alone onstage but she nevertheless reappropriates her opening remark. Her spousal abuse becomes a historical fact and not a handicap, her name is an assertion and not a question mark—she achieves stability and solace within this tale’s western wilderness of sex, slaughter, and off-key singing. ¬ “RIO,” Dream Theatre Company, 556 W. 18th St. Through March 16. Thursday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 7pm. $22. (773)5528616. dreamtheatrecompany.com

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A Hyde Park band places gender issues in the spotlight BY RACHEL SCHASTOK

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ene Cochrane and Kalil Smith-Nuevelle call themselves “gender politicians.” The two UofC students met last spring at a coffee shop where Cochrane was working, and quickly began friends and then bandmates. Now known as Slurp’s Up, the duo is more than eager to jump into discussions of radical gender politics with their newly released debut album, “Text Me When You Get This.” Smith-Nuevelle plays the drums and Cochrane plays guitar. The pair played in several bands before settling upon their current two-piece. “Kalil and I were really into playing with each other,” Cochrane said in an email interview. “So we kept going after everyone else stopped responding to texts, basically.” Chicago cassette label Athletic Tapes released their album earlier this month. “Text Me When You Get This,” a compilation of material from the last several months, showcases the band’s queerpunk ethos, voiced by Cochrane with the frenetic delivery of Talking Heads’s David Byrne. Tracks veer from jangly pop harmonies (“This Is Not What I Wanted”) to a riot grrrl inflection (“Tums Crumbs”) and sparse post-rock (“See You Next Trip”). But “Text Me When You Get This” offers more than angst and restlessness—this is rock and roll with something to say. Much of their music is about exploring issues of gender diversity, so they seek out safe-space venues, a designation that indicates a commitment to free expression of gender and sexuality. They prefer to play small house shows, where show organizers can more easily take steps to keep spaces safer. Cochrane, who identifies as third gender and uses the pronoun “they,” explained that finding a safe space to play can often be an uphill battle. “I’ve struggled a lot with escaping male voices in music—literally and figuratively,” they said. “So I make a conscious effort to present femininity on stage and work in a performance style that

pays homage to female and queer DIY traditions.” For that reason, Smith-Nuevelle says the band “won’t play at any show without female musicians.” The band makes an effort to play shows in Hyde Park, but they’ve also found support in a network of house venues mostly concentrated on the North Side. While in high school at the UofC Laboratory Schools, Cochrane was introduced to Chicago’s DIY scene by Shelby Turner and Brian Weza, the duo behind Athletic Tapes. Cochrane says that the label owners and musicians welcomed Cochrane into their Humboldt Park home and performance space, offering support and a place to perform even when Cochrane was still “a stupid high-school kid.” Cochrane turns down their guitar at each performance to talk about gender politics or current events. “There’ve been a few times after Gene’s monologues that people have applauded,” Smith-Nuevelle said. Sometimes audiences don’t know what to make of the band or don’t quite share their passion, but the two agree that audience reactions to Slurp’s Up has been overwhelmingly positive. “I know that gender intersects a lot with music,” Cochrane said. “But no one really talks about it. So I’m glad we’re talking about it.” ¬ Slurp’s Up, “Text Me When You Get This.” Athletic Tapes. slurpsup.bandcamp.com


Art Out of the Dark David Stuart MacLean reveals his hard-fought memoir BY LUCIA AHRENSDORF

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n October 17, 2002, David Stuart MacLean awoke in a train station in India with no memory of the past. “I stood still,” he writes in his memoir, “The Answer to the Riddle is Me”. “I had no idea who I was. This fact didn’t panic me at first, I didn’t know enough to panic. I could feel a heavy absence in my brain like a static cloud.” An English-speaking police officer found him and reassured him, telling him he was a drug addict experiencing temporary disorientation. MacLean, grasping at an explanation, invented a vivid and detailed drug-fueled past in his head, complete with characters, settings, and situations. However, MacLean was not a drug addict. He was a young writer on a Fulbright in India, with a family in Ohio and a girlfriend waiting for him back home. In preparation for his trip to India he had been given an antimalarial drug called Lariam, which has since sparked controversy for the psychotic episodes and powerful hallucinations that it can cause. Since MacLean’s ordeal, the medication has been taken off the market. His story is about the strenuousness of remembering what’s lost, and of learning how to cope with dark memories through creative expression. Last week, at Midway Studios, MacLean read two excerpts from the resulting book, “The Answer to the Riddle is Me.” He began with his second birth: when he woke up in the train station. MacLean’s diction is fragmented—he describes looking around his unfamiliar environment and watching everyone else go about their everyday life as the gravity of the situation slowly dawned on him. “I was alone, alone with no idea how far I was from anyone who knew me,” he writes. The second excerpt was a poignant and darkly humorous description of the plane ride home with his parents, during which he listened to recordings of an old radio show he did in college. The charmingly

corny comedian in the recording was completely unrecognizable, as was MacLean’s home “Central Ohio was as alien as India,” MacLean writes. This extreme mental duress drove him to a mental asylum, where he discovered certain inherent traits—an ability to make people laugh and a love of reading—that had been unaffected by the loss of memory. For the next few years, MacLean’s only means of piecing himself back together were old photographs and other people’s accounts of who he had been. Handpicked by MacLean to open the reading was Da’Shawn Mosley, a second-year undergraduate at the University of Chicago. Mosley read his creative nonfiction essay, “Dark Matter.” In his essay Mosley chose to juxtapose two disparate subjects. One was scientific, the other intimately personal: astrophysics and an account of painful childhood memories, respectively. Mosley opened the essay with an account of his fascination with the strange and wondrous aspects of the universe— black holes, specifically––and then unexpectedly switched to a description of the death of his baby brother. The rest of the essay consisted of narratives of trauma and heartache—his mother’s arrest, his separation from his siblings—broken up by the continuous use of the phrase “black holes devour.” The repetition added a rhythm to the piece, becoming heavier as it goes on. Mosley ended on a grimly hopeful note––with an acceptance of the difficulty of life. “Why not just enjoy this moment? You’re holding your baby sister for the first time. This could be the only time. She must weigh so little. Weight is the gravitational pull on an object. It’s what keeps us grounded. It’s what keeps us here. Black holes always devour.” Both Mosley and MacLean were faced with overwhelming situations that could have devoured their lives. Instead of succumbing to helplessness and allowing their traumatic memories to define them,

they used these heavy stones of experience to sculpt a new form through language— making art out of the dark. After all, as MacLean muses, “I don’t know if it’s the telomeres on the end of DNA, or the breath of God, but there is something other than our experiences that we are.” ¬ FEBRUARY 26, 2014 ¬ SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY 11


Return of the Student Jazz musician Marquis Hill plays for the hometown crowd BY NOAH KAHRS

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rumpeter Marquis Hill, originally from Chatham, returned to the South Side two weeks ago for a show at the House of Bing in South Shore, and also played at WHPK’s annual Black History Month concert last Saturday at the University of Chicago’s International House. Both shows featured a mix of songs from his 2013 record “The Poet,” such as the motif-driven “Return of the Student,” as well as newer tunes like “Black Harvest,” which was composed just a few weeks before the performances. These songs heavily featured Hill’s group, the Blacktet, with driving themes slowly emerging from solos on drums, trumpet, vibes, sax, or bass. The WHPK concert also honored the previous generation of South Side jazz pioneers, including pianist Willie Pickens, who took the stage to receive WHPK’s REACH Award for lifetime achievement in jazz performance. Pickens performed a solo rendition of Coltrane’s “Lazy Bird,” and was more than happy to be followed by Hill and the Blacktet: “I mentored those cats,” he said with a smile. Before both concerts, Hill spoke about his South Side roots, the origin of the Blacktet, and his ideas about jazz’s future.

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MUSIC What’s it like to perform back on the South Side, versus up north? It’s a big deal, playing in front of your people. You know, I’m from the South Side, and there’s not a lot of jazz happening here, so when I get the opportunity to play on the South Side, it’s an amazing feeling. And I think there’s a big difference. A South Side audience will let you know if they don’t like what you’re playing, if they’re not feeling your music, or if you don’t sound good. They’re going to be more obvious about it—they’ll let you know. But certainly, it’s great. It’s a challenge, and it lets you know where you stand with people. If you can please a South Side audience, then you’re doing all right. How did you form the Blacktet? What went into the name? I formed a band right out of undergraduate [at Northern Illinois University]. I have a buddy of mine named Jarritt Sheel. He has a group called Jarritt Sheel & the BluTet, and I thought that was a very unique name, ‘cause nowadays you just hear jazz performers, saying “The Blah-Blah-Blah Quintet,” “Blah-Blah-Blah Quartet,” “The Blah-Blah-Blah Project,” and I wanted to do something more unique than that. So I took the note from my friend Jaritt. People think it’s a race thing, but black is one of my favorite colors, and since I wanted to be unique with the name of the band, I called it the Blacktet. But, on the same subject, the music we are playing is black American music, you know, the art form called jazz today is a black American music, so I guess it is very fitting. But I just wanted it to be the title for my group. The original band had three white guys. We were the Blacktet, and the majority of the band was white guys, so that’s why I really think it’s hilarious. But now, the group is different: myself, Christopher McBride, Joshua Ramos, Makaya McCraven, and Justin Thomas. We recorded “The Poet” with that band in October. I went to college with Chris, the alto saxophonist. The bass player, Joshua Ramos, also went to Northern Illinois University, but he was there a few years before me. I just met him through the scene—I met all these guys through the local jazz scene in Chicago. I have a specific sound for my music, and it actually took me a while to get to this specific version of the band, but the way that I hear my music in my head,

they play it exactly like that. Has the AACM, Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, been influential to you? Yeah, I kind of learned the tricks of the trade, as they say, or how to play, at this place called the Velvet Lounge. It was run by the late great Fred Anderson, and the AACM used to play there a lot. That’s where I met Ernest Dawkins, who was also a member of the AACM. So yeah, the AACM has definitely had an effect on my career, and also my playing, and the fact that they’re based in Chicago, it’s an amazing thing.

ry.” And he just kept saying “poet,” “poetic,” “poetry,” and that gave me the concept to write music in the style of poetry. Each song is kind of winding together. At these concerts, you’re hearing music from the record, but at the same time, I’m always writing new music, and we’re in the process of figuring out new music as well, just getting a vibe to it. The thing about that is, the only way for newer compositions to form is to play them live. I’m excited that we get an opportunity to really premiere this music, with the concerts that we have. You’ll hear a mixture of some older music from the record—“The Poet”—and you’ll hear a mixture of some newer compositions

“People think it’s a race thing, but black is one of my favorite colors, and since I wanted to be unique with the name of the band, I called it the Blacktet.” How does it feel to be playing a concert sponsored by WHPK? Did you grow up listening to the station? WHPK’s really the only jazz station in Chicago. In high school, when I really got into jazz, I would listen to that station all the time. That I’m playing for them—it’s cool. It’s an honor to be playing a concert with them. It feels good to get the support from them. It’s very important to have someone to support your music besides your friends and your family. You want to get your music out to the public, and the fact that they’re playing my music, and I’m doing this concert for the station, is very cool. You mix a lot of different sounds into “The Poet,” including hip-hop and spoken word. What inspired the style on that record? Actually, the concept I got from a friend of mine. One day we were eating lunch, and he was like, “You know, Marquis, your music is really poetic. It sounds like poet-

that I’ve been working on, that’ll likely be featured on the next record. What sorts of ideas are you working on now, and figuring out on stage? I’m bouncing around the ideas for the record right now, actually, with merging— truly, truly merging—jazz with the popular hip-hop style of today. And I know there are many artists that have done this before, but I don’t think it’s been done quite the way that I’m envisioning. I think that’s the direction I’m going with my music for my next project. It’s still going to be jazz music, but I want it to reach the mass audience, the massive audience that hiphop has. I was pointing out to a friend of mine, the popular music of the day, back in the forties and fifties, was jazz. You would go to a club and jazz would be playing, and all the radio stations would be playing jazz. That was the popular music of the day, and today it’s not. So I’m trying to figure out a way to connect my music with the popular music of this day and age, pop and hip-hop. That’s what I’m going for. ¬ FEBRUARY 26, 2014 ¬ SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY 13


SCREEN VISUAL ARTS East of Que Village The human eye cannot comprehend six disparate videos simultaneously—this is what avant-garde Chinese artist Yang Fudong is counting on. This multi-screened collection of narratives is intended to be non-linear. The videos presented stretch across more than twenty years of the artist’s career, from the early film “After all I didn’t force you” (1998) to “The Half Hitching Post” (2005). The title film, “East of Que Village,” is centered on the artist’s home village in the province of Hebei. The exhibit itself is intended to work in conjunction with “Envision China: A Festival of Arts & Culture,” which UChicago Arts will run from February to June. Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E 60th St. Opening reception Friday, February 28, 6pm-9pm. February 28-March 30. Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-8pm. Sunday, 11am-8pm. Free. (773)702-2787. http://arts.uchicago.edu/reva-and-david-logan-center-arts (Sarah Claypoole)

Typeforce 5 Serif or sans? Bold? Italic? Whatever your typographical style of choice, you’re sure to find some fonts you’ll love—maybe even find new font-loving friends—at CoProsperity Sphere’s “Typeforce 5.” Twenty-five designers and artists are allotted their own 10-foot-by-10-foot wall space on which to install their text-based masterpieces. Lit lovers and art lovers alike, rejoice in this unique opportunity to mingle amongst one another. Bring your friends and judge them on their taste in type, or show up stag and let the text be your matchmaker. After all, if your date was a Comic Sans guy or gal, you’d want to know…right? CoProsperity Sphere, 3219-21 S. Morgan St. Opening Reception Friday, February 28, 6:30pm-11pm. Free. (773)837-0145. coprosperity.org (Katryce Lassle)

Tentatively Titled bea malsky

Paul Durica congratulates the winner of the “Twin Peaks” costume contest.

Ain’t No Fish In The Percolator Maria’s serves some damn good coffee for “Twin Peaks” costume party BY ZACH GOLDHAMMER

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his weekend, Maria’s was overcome with nineties nostalgia as the Bridgeport community bar hosted a crowd of clairvoyant detectives, agoraphobic orchid growers, Hawaiian-shirted shrinks, and log-cradling ladies. The “Twin Peaks” costume party, hosted by UofC creative writing professor and Chicago history buff Paul Durica, was both a celebration of the cult TV show and a fundraiser for Durica’s Pocket Guide to Hell tours. While Durica has primarily made his name by hosting fictionalized reenactments of historic events, he took the opposite tact on Sunday, recasting the 14 SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY

fictional murder of Laura Palmer—”Twin Peaks’s” femme fatale—as a historic event. The event at Maria’s was advertised as the twenty-fifth anniversary of her murder and a commemoration of her life. Donuts and coffee were served in honor of Special Agent Dale Cooper, the show’s protagonist and breakfast food aficionado. The bar also served a special “FireWalker” cocktail in honor of the TV series’ widely-panned cinematic sequel, “Fire Walk With Me.” The event also included a “Bookhouse Boys” trivia event and costume contest, for which this reporter won third place and a Maria’s T-shirt. It was a beautiful night. ¬

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This definitely isn’t your grandmother’s art show. For its debut exhibition, Sunday Project gallery’s “Tentatively Titled” shines a light on what might be this generation’s biggest Achilles heel: our ever-growing, ever-changing, fairly constant connection to digital technology and social media, in juxtaposition with the “perceived banality” of everyday, analog, physical being. This conflict very distinctly belongs to those of us who, to varying degrees, live and breathe in virtual reality. Confront the paradoxes of your twenty-first-century existence; connect, or re-connect, with your physical self; maybe even turn off your phone. Sunday Project, 1344 W. 18th Pl. #1F. Opening reception Saturday, March 1, 4pm-7pm. March 1-March 29. sunday-project.com (Katryce Lassle)

Visual Ends Ephemerality. Intangibility. The human condition. Countless artists throughout the course of history have attempted to transform these universal abstractions into something comprehensible through impressive words, grandiose imagery, bold colors, and experimental techniques. Yet one gallery in Chicago has undertaken the task of enabling both local and international artists to make physical these imperceptibles through simple installations of sound, light, and movement. Two single glowing light bulbs suspended in the air. Resonating vibrations in a room full of crystal glasses. “Performative” interactions with nude models. These are just a few of the past exhibitions displayed at the “Visual Ends: The Edge of Perception” exhibition at FLAT Chicago. FLAT, 2023 S. Ruble St. Private opening Friday, February 28, 7pm-10pm. Through March 30. Saturday-Sunday, 1pm-4pm. Free. Viewing available by appointment. contactflatspacechicago@gmail.com (Maha Ahmed)

Library of Love As the temperatures rise and the wind begins to subside, the memory of this hellish winter will begin to slowly melt away. It will become easier to feel fondness for our city again. With love on one’s mind after Valentine’s Day and the arrival of spring on the horizon, now is the perfect opportunity to take some time to think about love and Chicago in the same setting. “Library of Love” is an interactive exhibit—hosted by the Washington Park Arts Incubator and a slew of UofC partners—which serves as homage to both love and to Chicago. Members of the community are invited to take some quiet time to reflect on these subjects and materials will be available to those who would like to write their own love letters. Arts

Incubator, 301 E. Garfield Blvd. Through March 31. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, noon-3pm. Free. arts.uchicago. edu (Lucia Ahrensdorf)

Performing Images From the late fourteenth to the early twentieth centuries, opera and theater were central to Chinese cultural life at the Imperial Court and in rural villages alike. This flowering of theater produced an inevitable ripple effect far beyond the stage. Operatic motifs are found on ceramics, scroll paintings, books, fans, and textiles. “Performing Images,” a new exhibit at the Smart Museum of Art, compiles a stunning array of such objects from the Ming and Qing dynasties. The show is being launched in concert with a five-month-long festival, “Envisioning China: A Festival of Arts and Culture,” that celebrates Chinese art, history, and culture with over forty events. “Performing Images” runs alongside another exhibit at the Smart, “Inspired by the Opera: Contemporary Chinese Photography and Video.” Together, these two collections form an unbroken narrative of an important field of Chinese visual art from its origins in medieval opera through its present incarnation. Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. Through June 15. Tuesday-Wednesday, 10am-5pm; Thursday, 10am-8pm; Friday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. (773)702-0200. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu (Lillian Selonick)

Topographical Depictions of the Bronzeville Renaissance Multidisciplinary artist Samantha Hill makes history every day at the Hyde Park Art Center. More accurately, Hill is constantly reshaping history, experimenting with archival and narrative practices to tell the stories of Bronzeville’s storied past in the liveliest of ways. Her first solo exhibition, “Topographical Depictions” is Hill’s attempt to construct a vibrant and ever-changing map of one South Side neighborhood’s history; the exhibition, which encourages audience participation, won’t look the same from one moment to the next. Part of the gallery is set up as an “office” in which Hill will work in real time every Saturday. She will also be creating tintype portraits of prominent Bronzeville community members, which will be displayed at Bronzeville’s Blanc Gallery starting February 28. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Through May 18. “Office hours” Saturdays 11am-3pm. Monday-Thursday, 9am-8pm; Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. Free. (773)324-5520. hydeparkart.org (Katryce Lassle)

Photorealism in the Digital Age For New York-based artist Yigal Ozeri and other photorealistic painters, there is much to be gained by rendering a photograph with paint on canvas. The works they produce capture all of the detail and depth of a photograph, and simultaneously seem to project the image into an ethereal, dreamy world beyond our own. With the quality of digital photography constantly improving, photorealistic painters can capture and magnify intricate details more vividly (and realistically) than ever. Mana Contemporary Chicago explores some of Israeli-born Ozeri’s most recent work in their upcoming exhibition “Photorealism in the Digital Age,” shedding light on an ever-changing form of painting that has fascinated for decades. Mana Contemporary Chicago, 2233 S. Throop St. Through April 15. Call for gallery hours. Free. (312)8508301. manafinearts.com (Katryce Lassle)

Hidden Gems Community-based art is no new phenomenon on the South Side. Before Theaster Gates, the likes of Charles White, Henry Avery, Archibald Motley, Jr., Marion Perkins, and other influential locals once called the South Side Community Arts Center their artistic home. Started by the Works Progress Administration, Bronzeville’s historic SSCAC has been accumulating an impressive collection of works by African-American artists since 1940. Though it was originally funded by federal programs, all funding was cut during World War II; community investment is what’s kept the center alive this long. With their new exhibition “Hidden Gems,” SSCAC celebrates Black History Month by sifting through the archives and displaying some rare old pieces from their permanent collection. South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. Through March 1. Free. (777)373-1026. southsidecommunityartcenter.com (Grace Gleason)


ARTS CALENDAR Fragmentos It’s how most of us remember our childhoods: in fragments, abstract bits of memories that we are sometimes surprised we’ve kept with us. We all carry mental maps of our youth; Mexican-American artist Pilar Acevedo lays hers out in full color. She works through poetry, painting, sound, sculpture, and found materials to reimagine not only her childhood, but also the aspects of childhood that many women share. Surreal, uncanny, and even a bit frightening, “Fragmentos” places girlhood in a dream space that might turn into a nightmare at any moment. You survived childhood; “Fragmentos” is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on those years you thought you’d forgotten. National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Through July 13. Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. Free. (312)738-1503. nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org (Katryce Lassle)

Silk Road and Indian Ocean Traders Did you know that archaeologists have found Chinese ceramics in excavations all over the Middle East? Findings like this reveal parts of the story of international trade in antiquity. They provide the basis for “Silk Road and Indian Ocean Traders: Connecting China and the Middle East,” a small exhibit open now at the Oriental Institute. The exhibit includes both Chinese and Middle Eastern artifacts, which, when viewed together, demonstrate the influence of Chinese inventions and innovations on Middle Eastern craft. Guest curator and research associate at the Institute, Tasha Vorderstrasse, will give a gallery talk on May 1 at 12:15pm. The Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th St. Through June 29. Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm; Wednesday, 10am-8:30pm. Free, $10 suggested donation. (773)702-9514. oi.uchicago. edu (Rachel Schastok)

STAGE & SCREEN National Treasure When Doc Films at The University of Chicago started their “Cage Uncaged: A Nicholas Cage Retrospective,” there was only one question on everyone’s mind: “When are they finally going to show “National Treasure?” The wait has been more painful than the dreaded bees dumped on Mr. Cage in “The Wicker Man,” but it’s finally over. Watch as Nicholas Cage and, more importantly, his fantastic facial expressions, attempt to do the impossible-—steal The Declaration of Independence. In the style of a modern Indiana Jones (but far superior), Nicholas Cage must navigate perils as he attempts to find a—that’s right—national treasure, weaving his way through clues leading to other clues in a journey rife with action, adventure, and historical accuracy. Doc Films, Max Palevsky Cinema, Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. Thursday, February 27, 9:15pm. $5. (773)7028574. docfilms.uchicago.edu (Mark Hassenfratz)

The Clean House Sarah Ruhl’s surrealist play comes to the Logan Center as a University Theater production this weekend, traversing the politics of the home in more ways than one. “The Clean House is a magical realism romp through life and death, apple picking and infidelity, about how much of a mess life is, and how we can clean our little corner of it,” says Director Sasha Ayvazov. The play’s little corner is far from tidy: relationships are fractured and remade when a woman’s husband and housekeeper both effectively leave her for another woman. Woven through it all is the quest for the perfect joke, which housekeeper Matilde has been pursuing for much of her life. “The perfect joke was not made up by one person. It passed through the air and you caught it,” she says, “A perfect joke is somewhere between an angel and a fart.” Put that on stage, and you’ll clear the theater. Theater West, Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. February 27-29. Thursday-Friday, 7:30pm; Saturday, 2pm and 7:30pm. $6 in advance, $8 starting two hours before the show. (773)7534821. arts.uchicago.edu (Hannah Nyhart)

Three the Hard Way It’s three on three in Gordon Park Jr.’s seminal 1979 blaxploitation film. Three heroes, played by the genre’s biggest stars at the time, are set to defend three cities, as a racist hate group plots to target Detroit, New York, and Washington, D.C. In a dastardly neo-nazi “cleansing” plot, the movie’s villains have concocted a waterborne toxin that only targets black people. But

they’ll have to get through Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, and Jim Kelly first, and that’s no small task: all three stars are equipped with solid action movie resumés. In a single scene, an unarmed Mister Keyes (“Now what kind of a first name is that?” “My momma wanted people to show me respect.”) drops half a dozen racist cops without rumpling his flared pants. Throw in some slowmo shots and a soundtrack of funk and tennis grunts, and you’ve got yourself a picture. Black Cinema House, 6901 S. Dorchester Ave. Sunday, March 2, 4pm. Free, please RSVP online. blackcinemahouse.org (Hannah Nyhart)

Dirty Wars After a US military night raid in an isolated region of Afghanistan went horribly wrong, the investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill began digging into the little-known US military unit known as the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).Blackwater, the book that resulted from his investigation, outline a web of intrigue that reads uncomfortably like the plot of the Bourne Identity. Scahill uncovered hit lists, contract killers, and people and events that, on paper, never existed. Scahill’s documentary film about his investigation, Dirty Wars, has recently been nominated for an Oscar, and in celebration, the Uri-Eichen Gallery on Halsted presents a free screening. Uri-Eichen gallery, 2101 S Halsted Ave. Sunday, March 2, 5-8pm. Free, Potluck contributions requested. (312)852-7717. uri-eichen.com (Zavier Celimene)

Water by the Spoonful A Pulitzer-prized winning play, “Water by the Spoonful” is the second in a trilogy of plays written by Quiara Alegría Hudes, following the complicated lives of the Ortiz family. Through entwined plot lines, the play follows characters inside and outside the family who have been severely affected by substance abuse, and who have anonymously connected on an online chat forum. The Ortiz family is beloved within their local Puerto Rican neighborhood, and over the course of the play, their struggles forge accidental ties between many of the characters. Ultimately, “Water by the Spoonful” is a realistically somber play that demonstrates how the personal connections one can make in life can lead to unexpected hopes, even in the most hopeless of times. Court Theater, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. March 6-April 6. See site for show times. (773)753-4472. courttheatre.org (Cristina Ochoa)

Rio Playwright Jeremy Menekseoglu’s latest work takes his audience to a small town in Texas by the Rio Grande. The border village finds itself in the grip of a mysterious mass killer—disappeared bodies keep turning up dead and hacked to pieces downstream. Into the ghost-townto-be wanders Mary Graves, on the run from an abusive husband. Dream Theatre bills the show as “a furious story of love, hope, innocence, forgiveness, mass murder and…karaoke!” The company first performed the play fifteen years ago, but the Chicago cast and the intervening years promise a fresh show. And in the middle of an unceasing polar vortex, Texas, even one plagued by evil and karaoke, sounds pretty good. See review, page 13. Dream Theatre Company, 556 W. 18th St. Through March 16, Thursday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 7pm. $22. (773)5528616. dreamtheatrecompany.com (Hannah Nyhart)

time. Pretty much anyone who has ever scribbled in English post-Bard, from storied critic Harold Bloom to storied critic Kanye West, has, at some point, invoked the man’s authority. The Greeks have Plato, the Germans Goethe, and we have the Swan of Avon. For the longest time, I was under the impression that “The Taming of the Shrew” involved some combination of old English and anthropomorphism. As a firm believer in my pet turtle Julius’ right to conversation, I was disappointed to find my convictions only partially founded. Nonetheless, the Provision Theater’s offering of this classic-—a patchwork quilt of sexism, misogyny and societal discomfort-—is required viewing. Whether you’re looking to carry out a feminist takedown or you simply want to check out Heath Ledger’s source material, swing by, throwing-fruit in hand. Provision Theater, 1001 W. Roosevelt Rd. Through March 30. See website for showtimes and pricing. (312)455-0065. provisiontheater. org (Arman Sayani)

MUSIC Weekly Jam Session with the Microcosmic Sound Orchestra “Music (vibration) has the power to transform matter” and “the goal of artistic expression should be to leave the listener in a higher state of being than prior to the experience.” Such are the beliefs of Sonic Healing Ministries, which has a weekly worship service in the form of a communal improv jam session at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park. Led by David Boykin, artist-in-residence at UofC’s Arts and Public Life initiative, the Microcosmic Sound Orchestra of Sonic Healing Ministries seeks to make music that impacts the well-being of audiences and performers alike, though there doesn’t have to be a distinction. Arts Incubator, 301 E Garfield Blvd. Sundays, 2pm-5pm. sonichealingministries.com (Noah Kahrs)

The Yale Club of Chicago Presents the Gershwin Songbook Do Ivy League kids do anything besides read? Yes, it turns out! Join some of Chicago’s jazzier Yale grads as they take the stage at Jazz Showcase for “Gershwin in Blue: A George and Ira Gershwin Songbook Celebration.” Sponsored by the Yale Club of Chicago, this evening of music will feature Yale alums and jazz vocalists Ava Logan and Charles Thomas performing with a talented local rhythm section. Relive the early golden era of American popular music at Chicago’s oldest jazz club, and explore the wonders of regional dialects with tunes like “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off ” in addition to other compositions for films and selections from “Porgy and Bess.” Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct. February 26. 8pm. $20 advance, $25 at door. Purchase advance tickets online. (312)360-0234. jazzshowcase.com (Rachel Schastok)

Classic Albums Live: Charles Shaw and The Electric Gypsy Band Had enough Hendrix? If the answer’s “no,” you should come and join the crowd at Reggies this Thursday for a night dedicated to one of rock’s most celebrated icons. Formed by Jimi himself after the dissolution of the Jimi Hendrix Experience trio, Band of Gypsys released an

eponymous live album in 1970 that was recorded over the course of two nights. Released just six months before Hendrix’s death, BoG went on to top charts all over the world and is the last album which Hendrix authorized for official release. This week you can hear the sounds of that legendary album revived by Charles Shaw and the Electric Gypsy Band—hailed as the Midwest’s Best Jimi Hendrix tribute group—as they bring the legends of rock and roll back to life without the help of a single hologram. Reggies Rock Club, 2109 S. State St. Thursday, February 27. 8pm. $7. 21+. Also featuring Cream’s “Disraeli Gears”, performed by Badge. reggieslive.com (Kari Wei)

Suite DuSable: A Vision of Faith 235 years ago, Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, having traveled from Haiti, established a trading post that later became the city of Chicago. This Friday, his namesake museum in Washington Park is honoring his journey by presenting, with the Illinois Amistad Commission, Suite DuSable, a musical composition paying tribute to his journey. Composed and conducted by Renée Baker and performed by her own Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, Suite DuSable pays tribute to Chicago’s first settler with a musical tracing of his journey from Haiti to the Great Lakes, but with the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project’s trademark mixing of styles, it’s hard to know what to expect. DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E 56th Pl. Friday, February 28, 7pm. $20. dusablemuseum.org (Noah Kahrs)

“Ray Elementary” Listening Party, Hosted By Hyde Park Records Loved our feature story last week? You’re in luck – Hyde Park residents and hip-hop fans throughout the Chicago area will have the opportunity to meet rapper Simeon Viltz and producer Mulatto Patriot in the flesh this coming Saturday. Hyde Park Records will be hosting a listening party for the duo’s debut, “Ray Elementary,” and unless you don’t think you can handle Golden Age sounds in a millennial context, it would be a crime to miss out. If you’ve been curious about the album ever since we dropped last week’s issue, now’s your chance to hear it and speak with the masterminds behind its creation. Hyde Park Records, 1377 E. 53rd St. Saturday, March 1. 3-6pm. Free. hydeparkrecords.com (Kari Wei)

Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Show Beverly Arts Center will soon be bringing the sounds of New Orleans to Chicago. Their Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras celebration promises to deliver “bands, beer and beads” as means of recreating the Louisiana carnival in the southwestern corner of the city. Kate Moss (the Chicago blues guitarist, not that Kate Moss) will be performing along with Felicia Fields, Coyote Riot, and Smiley Tillmon Band. Talent aside, where else would you want to celebrate Mardi Gras other than at a gallery whose acronym also stands for blood alcohol content? Come down to Beverly and have a good time, N’awlins-style. Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Tuesday, March 4, 8pm. $13 ($11 with BAC membership). (773)445-3838. beverlyartcenter.org (Zach Goldhmmaer)

Anna, in the Darkness Those who like to leave the light on at night might want to avoid Dream Theatre Company’s newest horror. “Anna, in the Darkness” sheds only shards of light on its title character, a young special education teacher played by Megan Merrill. The one-woman show keeps tension piqued , casting the stage’s only face in the digital glow of a cell phone or the flicker of a candle. House playwright Jeremy Menekseoglu’s scare ran in 2012 and again last Fall, and now goes up Friday nights as an open run. Anna remains trapped in her house, hunted by a town outside, her guilt or innocence kept carefully ambiguous. The play’s a good bet for anyone who likes a little psycho with their thriller. This house is definitely haunted; the only question is by whom. Dream Theatre Company, 556 W. 18th St. Fridays: March 14, April 11, May 9. $17-20. (773)552-8616. dreamtheatrecompany.com (Hannah Nyhart)

Taming of the Shrew

Corrections Last week’s cover story on rap duo Ray Elementary, composed of Simeon Viltz and Mulatto Patriot, misspelled the name of Englewood rapper Pugs Atomz. It also misstated Viltz’s age: he is five years older than Patriot, not ten. Viltz’s grandmother, not his mother, was a classically-trained pianist. The story on “Paul’s NOT Gay,” an exhibition at Slow Gallery, misattributed the authorship of a pamphlet about Paul Hop-

kin. The pamphlet was created by Andrew Holmquist; it was not co-authored with John Henley. The story also did not include attribution for the artwork “Paul Lynde to Block,” by Steve Reber. The interview with game designer Eddo Stern misformatted Stern’s comments on “magic as a metaphor for technology”; that paragraph came from Stern, and was not a question posed by the writer.

The English literary tradition owes Shakespeare big

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February 26, 2014